Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Sending Mr Misfit Skywards

Last week I was offered the opportunity to take a helicopter flight over London. Yep!  Me!  Mrs Cowardy-Custard-Misfit.  It couldn't have been a day clothes shopping with a blank cheque or a night at The Ritz, could it?  No, it would have to be something which had me laughing hysterically and saying in my best Miranda voice, 'Thanks to you very much, please, thank you. No!'

Suffice it to say, I'm not great 'up in the air' - I practically have to stop myself from kissing the ground when landing and, for me, flying is merely the terrifying act of getting from A to B.  NOT something I would consider merely for pleasure.

So I managed to wrangle the flight for my hubbie instead and, I have to say, now he's done it and shown me the pictures and video, I'm just a tad jealous.  I actually think I might have enjoyed it.

Anyway, he survived to tell the story so today I'm welcoming Mr Misfit to the blog to tell us about his adventure.

Now, I know you love flying (and that you were dumb enough to do a bungee-jump) but was there any small part of you that was apprehensive about this ride? 
Do you mean apart from the fact my flight came just weeks after a chopper crashed after hitting a crane jib nearby?  As you know, I love new experiences, and in particular those that get my adreneline going, but my business background in contingency planning means that I always assess the risk first to give me comfort.  When I did the bungee jump, I made sure there were secondary fallbacks like another rope and D-links.  But where's the 'Plan B' with a single engined aircraft?  Happily I learned that a helicopter can glide (gyro?) in if it conks out. 

How would you convince a nervous passenger (me!) that there's nothing to worry about and do you think I would actually have enjoyed it? 
To quote from the blog I wrote about my experience, it feels quite natural to take off and land in something that is essentially a familiar car cabin environment that flies.  Despite not being scared of heights, I once had a bit of vertigo looking down from the London Eye but felt none of this in the chopper - it somehow seems to cradle you by being suspended under the power source rather than being thrust forward in a giant metal cylinder!  It feels really safe and not at all scary, so I think you would have loved it. 

Were you made to feel safe and secure - what precautions were taken? 
All the bases were covered.  The welcoming team talked us through seatbelts and lifejackets (we flew over the Thames), just as you'd expect on a plane, and the whole operation was professional and integrated with the control tower and heliport crew outside.  The chopper could even land on water. 

How long was your flight and what route did you take? 
We were in the air for about 20 minutes, taking off from Battersea and heading East over all the major landmarks as far as Greenwich/Canary wharf and then back West to Putney/Wetlands before looping back to base.  There's also a service from Redhill, Surrey. 

Are you given a running commentary by the pilot? 
As far as the other incoming air traffic broadcasts would allow - but you wouldn't want to override those!  We were all rigged up to a 5-way comms system via headphones and mikes.  In some ways it might have been preferrable if there'd been some sort of automated commentary as they have in galleries, but it's encouraging to know you can speak to the pilot if you want or need to.

What was the best part of this experience? 
Well, apart from getting up close and personal with the higher tourist attractions like The Shard and the London Eye, being able to smugly look down on the people there and thinking "I can see further than you can!"  I also got a real feel for London's layout and was amazed that places were as close together as they are from the air - it usually takes an age to get even a few miles to anywhere on the ground. 

Would you recommend to others.  If so, why? 
Hell, yeah!  It just gives you a whole different take on what you see from a fixed panoramic structure on the ground, no matter how high it is. 

Was the pilot good-looking?  Sorry, had to ask that - I do love a man in uniform! 
Well, you've been spoiled by marrying me, so everything's relative really.  I'm not used to looking at men in that way, but he did look pretty dapper in his crisp starched white shirt with epaulettes and his Aviators slung nonchalantly by one arm in his breast pocket.

Thank you Mr Misfit for joining me here on the blog today.  For any readers who may be interested in taking their own flight, here's the link to Mr M's blog and further details are listed below.  Just maybe I'll reconsider and take to the skies myself one day - I rather like the sound of that pilot! 

Twitter - @thelondonheli

Flights from: Batersea and Redhill
Cost - Battersea £199 per seat.  Redhill £129 per seat


  1. Unless the helicopter did a loop the loop and was an Apache gunship,it seems a tad pricey.


    1. I would agree with you, Skipper but it's an incredibly expensive activity and they obviously need to meet their costs and make a profit.
      Thanks for commenting :)

  2. Wow, I'm totally jealous! I'd love to take the boys to do this, and obvs Mr. T, so unless you can wang it for another 4 I'm going to have to give it a miss.
    But lucky Mr. Misfit, what a treat and what a great post!

    1. If they ask me for more volunteers, you're first on the list Donna - mad woman! xx

  3. Sounds fun, but I wouldn't have done it either - geet vertigo in heels more than 2 inches high. I think I'd have wangled the treat for my OH - and now you can use this to get your shopping trip etc etc.....every cloud... as they say.